Break and enters appear to have spiked in the District of Lakeland, but government and police alike are asking the public to let them handle it.
According to the RCMP's quarterly reports from October to December of 2017, there were 27 break and enters reported, seven willful damage or vandalism complaints, and eight reported thefts. This compares to two reported break and enters the previous quarter, 11 willful damage or vandalism complaints, and 25 reported thefts.
Prince Albert RCMP Sgt. Lyle Korzak said police take these calls very seriously, and if the people want to protect themselves, there are things they can do.
"We are encouraging the public to start rural crime watch groups and call 9-1-1 for any suspicious vehicles or suspicious activity," he said.
Korzak said the numbers have remained steady the past few years, but just seem to be getting more attention recently. He also said he is aware of some "keyboard warriors" who have claimed they will do whatever it takes to protect their property.
"We gotta advise the public not to take matters into your own hands. Public safety and your safety is paramount,” he said.
Nadine Wilson is the MLA for the Saskatchewan Rivers riding, and has been quite involved with the local rural neighbourhood watch groups, most recently attending the meeting in Christopher Lake last month.
"I know all levels of government are working together to address the root causes of crime and why individuals are coming into contact with city police or the RCMP," she said.
Wilson said the Saskatchewan Government created a caucus committee on crime reduction and out of that came the provincial response team. A total of 258 officers have been assigned to focus on rural crime. Wilson said it is also important for communities to watch out for one another.
"I think neighbours should get to know one another and please do not post on Facebook that you're on a holiday away somewhere for two weeks," she said.
Wilson said issues surrounding rural crime are brought to her consistently, and she promised to speak to those issues this spring when the next session of the legislative assembly begins.
The RMs of Garden River and Buckland are meeting this week to discuss their own statistics.
On Twitter: @nigelmaxwell
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